Elite (Formerly ‘Epic’) Escape Games – Meltdown (Review)

Location: Mount Pleasant, SC

Players:  2-8 (We recommend 4-5)

Price: $28 per person

Time to Escape: 60 minutes

“Why is there smoke coming out of it!?!”

Theme:

The nuclear power plant’s systems have malfunctioned, and it’s up to your team of engineers to stop the meltdown! Systems failure is rapidly approaching, and the reactor will hit critical levels in an hour unless you’re able to enter the manual override in time! The only problem is the many locks and puzzles in the way…

First Impressions:

The room was well themed, with button and keypad overload at points, adding to the high tech feel of the room. The reactor itself ominously glowed from behind a door, and spurred us toward action. Our timer began counting up to critical mass, and the race against the clock began!

High Points:

Elite continued to include very tactile and original interactions in Meltdown. Engaging props and bits of technology helped immerse us in the scientific feel of the room, and allowed for many different interactions we’d not seen before. The room at first felt very sparse, but as we solved puzzles, more and more of it opened up, sometimes in really surprising ways. Every part of the room is used, and seemingly innocuous parts end up playing a role throughout the game, leading to some great a-ha moments! The ongoing feedback from the intercom, as well as the reactor itself, keeps the sense of urgency and immersion up throughout the game.

Low Points:

Unfortunately, there are many similar code entries throughout the game, leading to a lot of trial and error entering of codes. At the very least, these entries do not lock out, so frustration on that part is low. Our team was a mixed bag of experienced and new players, and the new players were very much lost during more technological interactions, so the barrier to entry here feels higher than usual. One device for input was used twice in quick succession, but this was not made very clear in game, leading to a bit more fumbling about than felt necessary. One particular puzzle felt a little out of place due to its presentation, but plays a very minor part.

Verdict:

Meltdown is an enjoyable game, even with a few issues holding it back. It was a bit of overload for our new players, so I would suggest playing a couple of rooms before trying this one out, (especially the excellent Undead Outbreak game also at Elite!) but I think enthusiasts might have a better grasp on how the game itself works. Even though it feels as though there is a slight barrier to entry, Meltdown is a solid game, and I definitely recommend trying it out here!

Full Disclosure: Elite Escape Games provided Media Discounted tickets for our game.

7.5/10 (Good)

Elite (Formerly ‘Epic’) Escape Games – Undead Outbreak (Review)

Location: Mount Pleasant, SC

Players:  2-8 (We recommend 4)

Price: $28 per person

Time to Escape: 60 minutes

The first rule of Zombieland is Cardio.

Theme:

You’ve been running from a horde of zombies for a while, and before they catch up to you, you see an abandoned cabin in the distance! You fight your way there and are able to take a breather for maybe an hour before the horde gets in. Luckily, it seems that someone who was here previously was working on a cure! If you’re able to piece together the clues this ill-fated survivor left, you might just be able to save the world and get out alive!

First Impressions:

Elite Escape Games has a fantastic lobby and a very personable and engaging staff, along with one of the most excellent post-game photo backdrops I’ve seen. Rather than using only the company logo on a blank wall like many others, they’ve worked into the mural every theme that they will have at their location. You can see it in all of its glory above! Customer service here is also a cut above, which is always a plus. (As a side note, if you’re lucky, little Bo man might be there. He is the owners dog, and is enormously cute.)

High Points:

Stepping into the room was fantastic. A beautifully dilapidated, run down cabin was filled with incredibly interesting props and puzzles to play with. As an added bonus, we could see and hear the zombies outside the boarded-up windows, spurring us into action. One of the best implementations of an escape room standby was installed on the ceiling, and was a lot of fun to work with. Several puzzles were very original, and required some entertaining physical interactions. The overarching puzzle was a great surprise and provided excellent feedback on our progress. Each new find was more surprising than the last, building the story one exciting step at a time as what first seemed like a simple zombie escape became something entirely more complex.

Low Points:

There were only a couple issues I found with this room, one regarding an unclued, fairly unintuitive input on one lock, and the other being a fairly small crawlspace that, though our group of 2 had no problems with, may present difficulties for handicapped or larger players.

Verdict:

Undead Outbreak has it all, great puzzles, immersive set, surprising and engaging story, and enjoyable interactions throughout. It is by far one of my favorite rooms, and has me excited to return to Charleston for their upcoming rooms! You can book your race for the cure here!

Full Disclosure: Elite Escape Games provided Media Discounted tickets for our game.

9.5/10 (Excellent)